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International Film FoundationFears of Children (1951)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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FEARS OF CHILDREN, the third in a series of mental health films entitled "Emotions of Everyday Living," is a film about Paul, a normal five-year-old, and his well-intentioned parents.
The opening sequence shows Paul cautiously and timidly entering his parents' bedroom in the early morning hours. Helen, his mother, invites him into her bed and lovingly cuddles him up to her. Their conversation awakens Jim, who sullenly remonstrates about Paul's awakening them at this early hour.
A series of episodes accompanying the family breakfast shows that Helen and Jim understand each other but don't understand Paul. When Paul observes his father and mother kissing each other, he feels very much neglected. Later when Jim blames him for having a turtle in the way and also for not assuming a sufficient amount of responsibility, he feels very misunderstood. He finally agrees to having breakfast; but because he is practically commanded by his parents to drink his orange juice, he unfavorably compares it with the loving way in which his mother offers his father coffee. When he accidentally upsets the coffee, his father orders him to go to his room. Alone in his room, he angrily throws the teddy bear which his father had recently given him and then violently kicks it.
Later in the afternoon, Helen and her friend Alice take a walk and allow their children, Paul and Mike, to ride their bicycles. Several incidents show that Alice gives Mike much more freedom and encouragement than Helen gives Paul. When Paul becomes very frightened after entering a park cave formed by huge rocks, his mother is tempted to force him to back into the cave to overcome his fear. Her friend Alice interferes, suggesting that it would be harmful to Paul. Later, over a cup of coffee at Alice's home, Alice says that she and Mike have come to understand that little boys get angry and that parents should accept it and not reciprocate. She explains that she and her husband had had trouble with Mike, too, but that their doctor had told them that the way to overcome Mike's fears was to be kind to him and to encourage him.
Later that evening, when Jim returns, Helen tells him about Alice's and Mike's experiences. Jim obstinately insists that the time has arrived to teach Paul to overcome his fears and to assume responsibility. His refusal to allow Paul to have a light on in his room is climaxed by a nightmare in which Paul associates his father with a bear. Even when he is awake, he pleads with his mother to take the bear, indicating his father, out of the room. Jim leaves and Helen manages to get Paul back to sleep.
Alone in the living room Helen and Jim realistically discuss the problems which seem to be facing Paul, and Jim comes to the terrible realization that his son is afraid of him. He resolves to be more friendly and understanding toward Paul. The concluding sequence shows Paul and his father at the entrance to the same cave which earlier had frightened Paul. When Paul refuses to enter, his father affectionately lifts him high on his shoulders and takes him where he wants to go.

(Educational Screen, April 1952)

This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives

Producer: International Film Foundation
Sponsor: Oklahoma State Department of Public Health and National Association for Mental Health under the supervision of the Mental Health Film Board. Tim says: The National Association for Mental Health, Inc.
Audio/Visual: sound, color

Creative Commons license: Public Domain Mark 1.0

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Average Rating: 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: JSBejma - 2.00 out of 5 stars2.00 out of 5 stars - January 14, 2015
Subject: I'd Be Scared Too

First a psycho-looking father who just seems like a type A personality with a bad case of dorky.

And secondly, these clowns trying to make him crawl into a rattlesnake-infested rock pile (this IS Oklahoma, ya know).

Depressing film. Even the kid looks like someone headed for the short bus.

I think this was supposed to be an updated, modernized discussion (perhaps legitimization) of Freud's Oedipus Complex thing. But way overly dramatized.

Frankly, they should have had another kid, like 3 yrs earlier - the presence of sibs usually prevents this sort of parent hate issue. I have only seen it happen in one-child families and it usually lasts for life.
Reviewer: Spuzz - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - January 2, 2013
Subject: Watch out for that turtle!
I had seen this already on one of Skip's DVD's... Boys, Boys Boys I believe (Oh Skip). This is an extremely well balanced movie with no firm conclusion of what to be done with a child who seems jittery all the time, afraid of the dark, confined places, and takes out his frustrations on his toys. His Mom wants to mother him more, but Dad wants to toughen him up. Nowadays it's just drugs, drugs and more drugs. But back then, parents had to, you know, do more parenting then is required today. Reccomended!


Producer: Julien Bryan A Julien Bryan International Film Foundation Production. Written and Directed by Francis Thompson. Psychiatric Consultants: A.A. Hellams, M.D., Milton Senn, M.D. Mental Health Film Board: K. Appel, M.D., T.A.C. Rennie, M.D., L. Baumgartner, M.D., H.P. Rome, M.D., C. Binger, M.D., L. Saul, M.D., J.M. Bobbit, M.D., C. Schlaifer, M.D., M.R. Kaufman, M.D., A. Altman, Exec. Sec. Educational Consultant: Nina Ridenieour, Ph. D. Photographed by: Peter Glushanok, Film Editor: Joseph E. Dushock. Sound Recordist: William Schwartz. Unit Manager: Robert Betts. Script Clerk Allegra Fuller. Electrician: Stanley Meredith. Music Arrangement: Herman Price. Cast: Paul Robbins: Rex Thompson. Helen Robbins: Anna Minot Franz. Jim Robbins: Peter Hobbs. Alice Tuttle: Sarah Cunningham. Mike Tuttle: Lee Richmond.

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